About Baby #3

As many of you know, a third sweet little one is growing inside of me.  I’ve been meaning to write something about this third baby pretty much since I found out I was pregnant…but somehow the words haven’t come.  With 28 weeks rapidly approaching on Monday, I thought that now was as good of a time as any to finally write about her.  But to do that, I have to go back to the beginning…before this baby was even a possibility in our minds.

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The Stillness and the Truth

Some many days I feel like I’m just treading water–struggling to keep afloat but not really going anywhere.  Waves come at me over and over, but for the most part the water is still and there is no current.

I used to love being still.  I treasured it.  These days, however, more often than not the stillness is suffocating…and inside my heart is anything but peaceful.

Can I be honest with you for a moment?  Sometimes being a stay-at-home mom is a really lonely place to be in.  Many of my days don’t even involve conversation with another adult.  Amidst the loneliness, I am constantly being bombarded with thoughts that I am not enough…that other women do so much more ministry and work and reaching out to others than I do.

Yet, even with all the stillness of not really “going” anywhere, I struggle to keep my head above water.  My days are full of repetitive, mundane, and yet inexplicably stressful tasks.  My house is never clean like I want it to be, and the laundry is never done.  I can’t even keep up with the “simple” tasks of a stay-at-home mom, let alone find time for “ministry” or “work”.

But then, God speaks to me like He did to Martha.  “Caitlin, Caitlin,” He says. “Do you not know that I have called you for such a time as this?  You worry about many things, but one thing is needed.  Your identity and worth and daily goals should be from Me alone!”

And I look into the beautiful blue eyes of my children, and realize that in the bustle of trying to “do enough”, I have neglected to really look and listen to them lately.  I have forgotten what my days are supposed to be about…training and teaching these sweet little gifts in the fear of the Lord.  I have forgotten to make this the sole focus of my days, and have forgotten to delight in this work as my life work for this season.

And I look into the pale blue eyes of the man who won my heart, and realize that I’ve also neglected my relationship with him.  I’ve forgotten that spending time with him is a must and a need.  I’ve forgotten that it’s okay to stop working and just sit and watch a show with him on the rare day he comes home early from work.  I’ve forgotten to seek out and do what would help him better to do his work.  I’ve forgotten to seek and pursue him.  In my self deprecation I have forgotten that he could care less if the house is spotless as long as it’s tidy.

And I look around at the wonders of creation, and realize that I’ve neglected my relationship with the Creator of it all, my First and Truest Love.  I’ve neglected to sit with Him, listen to Him, and delight in Him.  I’ve forgotten how to just sit and open my eyes to the gifts He’s given me.  I’ve forgotten to see those gifts around me and within nature, and to thank Him for them all.

 

Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful calling You’ve set for my days in this season of life.  Forgive me for focusing on what I’m not doing instead of on what You’ve called me to do.  Help me to find joy in this season of life.  Help me to find joy in the stillness and repetitive tasks.  Thank You, Lord, for the gift that is this stillness.  

 

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When You Have a Sweet One

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My son is one of those uncommonly sweet people.  Every time I pick him up from Sunday school I hear, “Miles is so sweet!”.  And then almost every night I hear our doorknob rattle and turn, followed by tiny little tiptoes across our floor.  My almost-three-year-old then silently climbs into bed on my side and neatly tucks himself in next to me before drifting back to sleep.  It’s hard to say no to something so heart-melting.

He’s the type of little boy who tells his mama often that she looks pretty, and you know he means it.  When I was sick recently, he voluntarily would softly rub my back and say, “I’m sorry you’re not feeling good, Mommy.”

His sweetness goes beyond just loving his Mama, though.  He notices peoples emotions, and it bothers him when others are upset.  When we took him to see Big Hero 6 in theaters, we thought that the movie would mostly go over his head.  However, by the time the credits rolled we were left with a sobbing little boy quaveringly telling us that “Baymax fell into the water!”.  He may not have understood everything, but he understood that Baymax was gone (or had been), and was absolutely torn up about it.

As his mommy, I both cherish and fear his tender heart.  I cherish it because it is a gift, rare in this world, especially among males.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s all boy, from his ability to turn anything into a weapon to his obsession with sticks and rocks (especially the throwing of them).  Yet, he has a sensitive streak in him that not every boy has.

I fear his tender heart because I am his mom and I don’t ever want to see him hurt, and yet I know the heartache that this world holds for those sweet ones.  Often in the world we live in, the ability to emote and empathize is degraded and made fun of.  I know that there will be times that my precious boy won’t fit in because of it.  I know that there will be times that he will be misunderstood because of it.  I know that watching the suffering of others will just about break him apart.

I also know that God has gifted him with this heart for a reason.  

I may not know yet what that reason is, but I pray every day that God will give me the strength and wisdom to nurture this precious little heart that He has entrusted me with.  I can’t wait to see the man he becomes.

What My Children See At Christmas

I was determined to have beautifully wrapped presents under our Christmas tree this year.  I’d looked up tutorials on how to make gifts look professionally wrapped, and I had everything all laid out.  But then Miles wanted to help wrap the presents for his daddy.  

As any parent knows, a two-year-old little boy isn’t exactly the most helpful when it comes to wrapping presents.  By the time the few presents were wrapped, the paper was wrinkled from being stepped on, there were pieces of tape in various random places, and the gifts looked anything but professionally wrapped.  I found myself snapping at my little boy who had been so eager to help.  I saw the crushed look in his beautiful blue eyes, and I hated myself for it.

I set the presents under our Christmas tree and remembered how just the day before I had contemplated replacing our cheap, Walmart angel and ornaments.  Yet, each piece had been bought in love and excitement by two beautifully happy newlyweds…each item budgeted for and purchased with the little money they had at the time.  No, they weren’t magazine worthy, but they were full of memories and love and a symbol of a new family being formed.  I knew then that I would not be able to replace them, even though I could afford to.    

I looked again at my mangled gift wrap job and smiled.  I wouldn’t trade those random pieces of tape and the wrinkled paper for the world.  In them I see my tenderhearted little boy, always eager to help and love others.

I pray that my children will not grow up thinking that Christmas means store-bought perfection straight out of a magazine.  May they grow up with treasured memories of family, hope, and love.  May they see Christ in Christmas…and may they see Christ in me.    

She’s Here!!!

I’m pleased to announce that Baby Girl Baker finally made her grand entrance into this world!

Nora Jane Baker was born 10/15/14 at 1:56 PM after a very crazy and intense birth.  8 lb, 1 oz.  20.5″ long.  Healthy as can be!  Hopefully I’ll have the chance to write out her birth story.  Until then, I’m home with my sweet little family, adjusting to life as a family of four.

 

 

 

 

Life: An Update

Today I realized that I’m 19 weeks pregnant, and the only thing I’ve posted on here about it is our pregnancy announcement and one other post.  It’s not that I don’t have things to talk about…life just keeps seeming to get in the way.

I’m a SAHM to one busy toddler, so how busy could I really be?  The problem is that “Stay at Home Mom” is only a job description…not an accurate picture of my daily life.

A year and a half ago, my husband and his father had the opportunity to buy the business that they had been running for a number of years.  That in and of itself was crazy.  Six months ago we had the opportunity to buy the counterpart retail store on the square of our little town as well.  Somehow, remodeling and revamping a 10,000 square foot retail space wasn’t enough…we decided to open a coffee shop AND a brick oven pizza place in part of the building as well.  Add to that the fact that my husband was taking 13 college credit hours this past semester, and you start to realize that he was really rarely ever home.  We hardly got to see him unless it was at the store, and we frequented it as often as we could.

Life was crazy, to say the least.  I felt like a single parent many days.  I even traveled on a plane alone all the way out to sunny California with my wiggling, active “lap child” toddler son because my husband was far too busy to go.  I missed having family time.  I missed getting to eat dinner together every night.  I missed my husband.

Yet, somehow we made it out and things have slowed down considerably.  Only now, I’m the one working.  My husband was needing help with some office work at the plant, and I’ve been working a few hours a day to help them catch up.  The rest of the day is pretty much a wash from my son being so thrown off his schedule.  Its rough, to say the least.

And did I mention that I’m really, REALLY trying to stay on top of my garden this year?  Yeah, life is full and crazy.  Yet, somehow amidst all this craziness little Baby Baker makes his or her presence known with near constant kicks and jabs.  I’m thankful for those little kicks.  They make me slow down and really sit and think.

So there you have it…a little snippet of my life right now.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before you hear from me again.  I’m not making any promises, though. 🙂

Finding Yourself in Motherhood

Four days after my son was born, I bawled like a baby as I heard the little cry start again.  It was 3 am, I was utterly exhausted, and this was the fourth time I had tried to lay my new son down and slip into bed.  Thirty minutes later, I fell asleep with him draped across my chest…something I vowed to never do…something the pediatrician who had checked him out in the hospital had told me to never, ever do.  As I slipped into sleep I cried again, feeling like a failure as a mom. 
I’d always wanted to be a mother.  I was pretty sure that, when the time came, I would know exactly what I was doing and that motherhood would come naturally to me.  I was so wrong.
Sure, I had those amazing feelings of love you always hear about.  Changing dirty diapers didn’t make me cringe a bit.  Once the struggle of the first tough month was over, I even enjoyed nursing.  What I wasn’t prepared for were the feelings of inadequacy and uselessness.  My filthy house, dirty dishes stacked high, and inability to get one decent meal on the table made me feel completely incapable as a house wife.  The fact that my son was not a “typical” newborn (as I thought he should be) made me feel out-of-control.  My exhausted frustration at my son when he would scream for hours every night from colic made me feel like a terrible mom.  Most of all, though, I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything all day.  I struggled with feeling a sense of purpose.
I knew that taking care of my son was my purpose for this season of life, but there was a disconnect between knowing that and feeling it in my heart.  I knew I was doing something very worthwhile and purposeful, but most days I felt like I was just treading water.  The problem was that, deep down, I wasn’t just a milk-producing, diaper changing, baby holding robot…there was a very real and individual person just dying to be let out!  The challenge in any change of seasons is finding the balance between who you are as a person and the tasks God has put before you for today. 
For me, finding this balance meant two things.  The first was that I had to change.  I had to let go of my need for control and desire to do things the “right” way and instead be flexible and learn to be the mom my son needed…not the mom I wanted to be.  Anytime God refines us, the process is far from easy and painless.  There were days that I despised the new mom posting on Facebook asking for ideas of things to do because her baby was so easy and she was bored.  Yet, I have come to realize that God gave me Miles with all of his out-of-the-boxness so that He could mold me and force me to let go of my controlling tendencies.  He gave me a very real little individual so that He could change my individual self.
Finding the balance for me also meant fusing who I was as a person with the role of mother.  Again, this isn’t an easy process.  I have come to believe that, in any season or role we find ourselves in, our personality should still shine and show through.  I don’t parent the same as any other mom because I am not any other mom.  I am a tea-drinking, outdoor-loving, greenthumb-wannabe who loves traveling and good food.  Consequently, my son spends a lot of time outdoors, is well acquainted with garden tools, has traveled more than most people will in a lifetime, and will eat just about anything…including spicy food or strong-flavored ethnic cuisine.  He is his own person, but his daily life is the way it is mostly because of who I am as a person.  God placed Miles in my care because He knew that the mama I am is the mama Miles needed.   
As I approach my two-year anniversary of being a mother, I’ve gotten into a better groove.  I have a system down for at least keeping the house manageably clean.  We do eat a home-cooked meal most nights, even if it was something I stuck in the freezer two weeks ago and just dumped in the crockpot that morning.  I already have long lists of freezer meals to assemble and preparations to make for whenever Baby Baker #2 decides to enter our home, knowing very keenly how needed those will be.  I feel very purposeful as I order our home, chase my toddler around, and reach out to other moms in our community. 
I am not the same person I was before my son was born.  And yet, I am more than just a mother.  I am Caitlin Baker, wife, mom, homemaker, and very real person…something that brings me very great joy.    

Feeling 22

I’ve never been a big Taylor Swift fan, but there was a day that I could sing “Picture to Burn” with all the bitter venom of the next girl.  Her songs were, quite simply, relatable.

When I first heard her newest song, 22, I thought it was catchy.  It was teenage angst moved into the next generation…the anthem of the single twenty-somethings stuck somewhere between the free-from-responsibility life of college and adulthood.  Sounded good.

And then I realized that I was 22 when my son was born.  For me, twenty-two didn’t mean making fun of my exes or falling in love with strangers.  I wasn’t “happy, free, confused, and lonely”.

I realize I wasn’t exactly the typical twenty-two year old.  I had been married two years, had a college degree, a mortgage, two dogs, and a baby on the way.

To some that may sound terribly sad.  They may feel like I wasted my years of freedom and tied myself down too early.  In many ways, they’re right.  I never studied abroad, worked my way up the career ladder, or spent a year on the mission field.  Twenty-two, for me, didn’t look like twenty-two for the rest of the world.

And that’s okay.  

You see, twenty-two looks like something different for everyone, simply because God has different paths for all of us.  For me, His path was getting married and starting a family young.  It didn’t include years of singleness and crazy experiences.

But lest you start feeling sorry for me, I want you to know that I really am a happy twenty-something.  I love feeling young and carefree and trying new things.  I’m blessed to have a husband who works hard to support us, so that I can have the time to both take care of my handsome little guy and pursue all sorts of interests in my free time.  Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I feel happier and freer than I ever have.  I know I’m right where God wants me.  I dream, and I see those dreams realized.  My days are simple, but incredibly rich and full.  My husband and I go on lots of crazy adventures…just with a baby in tow.

Yes, I’m a mom and a wife.  But I am not in bondage.  You see, true joy and freedom can only be found when you are right in the center of God’s plan for you.  And that’s where I am.

As crazy as it sounds, it’s possible to embrace both the responsibility and carefree spirit of being twenty-two.  I know, I’ve lived it.

And so I embrace who I am today.

I am a wife and a mom.  But I’m also twenty-something.

  

I Vote Because of Miles

*Warning: This is a political post.  If you tend to get upset about these types of things, then please don’t read it.  I don’t want any scathing comments.  These are just my thoughts and opinions, so be nice. 🙂

Tomorrow morning my husband, my young son, and I will stand in line to cast our votes in what has turned out to be a very historic election.  I will proudly wear my “I Voted” sticker, and that night I will watch the news as the results come in.

I’m not the political fanatic in our home.  While my husband spends much of his free time following the latest polls and debates, I generally try to avoid them.  I do follow the election, but only to some extent.  I already know who I’m voting for, and I prefer to not let politics dictate my emotions and moods.  I prefer to stay away from debates, as they usually don’t result in anybody actually changing their minds.

Tomorrow, however, I will eagerly cast my ballot.  I will do so because of my son. 

Having a child changes everything.  You can talk and talk about wanting the best future for your children, but if you don’t actually have any, then it’s just talk.  This year, when I vote, it’s with the best interests of Miles’ future at heart.  Suddenly, the “future of my children” is very real, because I can see it in my son’s big blue eyes.

I have friends who aren’t voting this year, or who will be writing a name in.  They don’t agree completely with the Republican candidate, so they are holding their “principles” high and not voting for him.  They are voting with their “conscience”.  They say that they cannot in “good conscience” vote for someone who is more Moderate, for gun control, not opposed to abortion under any circumstances, not against homosexuality, not wanting to do away with the federal government completely, a Mormon, or any other reason.       

I cannot in “good conscience” not vote for him.

No, I don’t agree with Romney completely.  I’ve made it very clear before that I am against abortion, even in cases of rape.  I lean more Conservative than Moderate any day, and I firmly believe that the federal government has become far too big.  However, I will most assuredly be casting a vote for Romney tomorrow morning. 

Everyone has a right to their own opinion.  Many will vote for a third-party candidate or a write-in because they are voting on “principle”.  They insist that they are not wasting their votes.  They may not be in the sense that they are standing firm in their beliefs and voting based on them.  In truth, however, they know that there is no chance that anyone but Obama or Romney can win the election.  It’s just the facts of life. 

Those same people may criticize me for “voting for the lesser of two evils”.  They are entitled to their opinions.  But so am I.  I could not in good conscience vote for someone tomorrow who has no chance of winning.  Why?  Because when I imagine four more years with Obama in office, my son’s future starts looking very bleak.  I know that in my heart-of-hearts, I’d do whatever it takes to prevent that.

In a perfect world, Romney may not be my choice for president.  I hate to break it to you, but we don’t live in a perfect world.  We live in a fallen world, and we must do the best we can in it.  In my opinion, casting a vote for someone besides Romney is, in essence, voting for Obama.  That vote that could have been used to prevent four more years of Obama has been made basically null-and-void.  It counts, and it’s not a waste, but it’s not going to change this world or the future of our country.     

So, before you cast your votes tomorrow, look deep into your children’s eyes.  Think about the kind of world you want to leave for them.  In voting for Romney tomorrow, I am not “voting for the lesser of two evils”…I am voting for the best option.  Someday when my son asks me what part I played in this election—in helping decide the future of this country—I want to be able to tell him more than that my vote counted.  I want to be able to tell him that my vote mattered. 

Tomorrow when I vote, I am voting because of Miles.